There are many ways that Orange County REMC provides you with safe, reliable electric service. One of the most common and crucial ways is referred to as right-of-way clearing (or vegetation management).
A right-of-way (ROW) refers to a strip of land underneath or around power lines that Orange County REMC has the right and responsibility to maintain and clear.
Trees must grow at a distance far enough from conductors that they will not cause harm to individuals or disruption to electrical service. Orange County REMC’s specifications can vary, but a general guideline for maintaining safe ROW clearance is 10 feet for single-phase and 20 feet for multiple-phase on either side of the primary conductors, cut ground to sky.
Clearing of ROW is critical to keeping our members’ lights on. An average of 13 percent of power interruptions occur because trees, shrubs or bushes grew too close to power lines. If a tree intrudes on this safe distance, our vegetation management team will trim back branches and brush using chainsaws, bucket trucks, tree climbers, brush chippers, mowers and sky trimmers. Chemical control methods may also be used as a way to combat the growth of low-growing plant species that will outcompete the tall trees growing beneath power lines.
ROW clearing also keeps your family safe by ensuring that tree branches do not become energized due to close contact with a downed power line. Power lines can carry up to 12,2470/7,200 volts, and an energized tree branch is incredibly dangerous — even deadly. Be mindful when around trees close to power lines, and make sure your children know that climbing trees near power lines is extremely dangerous.
Staying ahead of the game helps us avoid coming out after a storm to restore power due to fallen trees and broken branches. Remember to contact Orange County REMC if you have trees near any power service or line that may need to be removed. You should never trim a tree in the right-of-way zone on your own.
If you have any questions concerning this matter, please contact our office during normal business hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 812-865-2229.